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Astrodome / Harris County Domed Stadium

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  • #16
    Astrodome.. what a dump.

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    • #17
      Great photos, thanks for those. I wonder if it's possible to take a tour of the place? I was thinking about catching a game this summer at Enron/Minute Maid/whatever it's called this year Field and would love to see the old dome.

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      • #18
        Did anyone ever hear the story of the mets manager complaining after one of the earliest games at the astrodome because he thought the astros were using the air conditioning to control where the balls went for either team? Sometimes I forget how big of a marvel it was really was for its time since so many domes now exist, but that story says a lot.
        The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Chevy114 View Post
          Did anyone ever hear the story of the mets manager complaining after one of the earliest games at the astrodome because he thought the astros were using the air conditioning to control where the balls went for either team? Sometimes I forget how big of a marvel it was really was for its time since so many domes now exist, but that story says a lot.
          This is true. Here is a little research excerpt from a book I'm working on.

          5/9/65- It is concluded that the Astros are not able to manipulate wind currents in the Astrodome. The study is done by Mr. Robert J. Salinger, chief engineer of C.F. Murphy Associates of Chicago. The independent study was prompted by complaints of New York Mets players and members of the New York media who claimed the Astros could change the wind direction coming from the Astrodome air-conditioning system. The Astros had been accused of having the wind blow in when the visitors were batting and blowing out when the Astros were batting. Meanwhile the Astros beat the Chicago Cubs 11-5 at Wrigley Field.

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          • #20
            Here's are some photos showing the early architectural model of the Astrodome. The color photos were taken in the late 90s at the Astrodome museum inside the dome and the black and white shot is an early publicity photo.
            Attached Files

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Astros View Post
              This is true. Here is a little research excerpt from a book I'm working on.

              5/9/65- It is concluded that the Astros are not able to manipulate wind currents in the Astrodome. The study is done by Mr. Robert J. Salinger, chief engineer of C.F. Murphy Associates of Chicago. The independent study was prompted by complaints of New York Mets players and members of the New York media who claimed the Astros could change the wind direction coming from the Astrodome air-conditioning system. The Astros had been accused of having the wind blow in when the visitors were batting and blowing out when the Astros were batting. Meanwhile the Astros beat the Chicago Cubs 11-5 at Wrigley Field.
              So was the dome that revolutionary that they didn't know what ac could do? Because by today standards that sounds pretty backwoods to think like that.
              The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

              Comment


              • #22
                No they knew exactly what the air-conditioning system was capable of. There was a communications room with a computer that monitored the air system in the stadium, concourses, offices and other areas. They just did it to appease the complainers. Getting it into the media for additional coverage didn't hurt either.

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                • #23
                  I think its funny and a good way to get in the papers like you said. I am just trying to see someone today saying the the rays beat us because they used the ac to push their balls out and move ours in.
                  The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Anyone who claims that today would get laughed at.

                    In all seriousness the Astrodome did provide a lot of new features not seen in stadiums before besides the domed roof. I've spoken to many people involved with the team and other organizations in those early days. They were amazed at what they saw and it was actually believable that you could have different weather patterns in the stadium. In the early days they ran the air system in the stadium even when there wasn't a game going on to prevent mositure buildup. This used to happen in large zepplin hangers where a light mist would fall because of the large size.

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                    • #25
                      I have heard people talk about it like this stadium was like 10 steps ahead of any other stadium up to that point. With the huge light up scoreboad, the real grass in a dome, then later the astroturf, and being one of the first stadiums to be away from a city to make room for tons of parking. I will alway speak highly of this dome!
                      The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        There were a few locations considered for the Astrodome but they settled on a 494 acre tract of land six miles just south of downtown where the new Loop 610 freeway would eventually pass by. Much of the land was owned by R.E. "Bob" Smith and he, along with Roy Hofheinz, finished purchasing the rest of the land from the Hilton Corporation. Smith and Hofheinz became the primary owners of the team until a falling out in 1965. Hofheinz envisioned monorails to sweep people from various areas of the parking lots up to the front gates of the stadium. The rail system was never done but they did provide tram service. Half of the stadium was built underground to limit the vertical travel by fans on the ramps. That is why the Dome looks smaller than Reliant Stadium today, which sits just to the west. The playing field inside Reliant Stadium is at street level because it would have cost a lot more money to rip up the sewer and piping systems that were under the parking lot surrounding the Astrodome. Fans are required to walk up three ramps to get to the Main Concourse.

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                        • #27
                          Hey Astros, neat information. I started a thread about the preliminary design ideas for the Cardinals in the mid 90's up until the final choice. I think it's neat to hear about and see "what could have been" whether the designs are not as good as the final product or better. Do you know of any other information or illustrations of early concepts for the Astros Stadium? I'd be interested to see them, whether they are concepts from the early 60's or from the 90's before they built Enron Field/Minute Maid park.
                          sigpic

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                          • #28
                            I like the idea for the monorail to go along with the space and future theme of the park, but the tram is much more feasible.

                            My next question is, if there was no dome for baseball yet, what plans did the astros follow. Did they try to mimic a basketball arena? If not, did the people of houston just have blind faith that this dome would work?

                            Finally how bad was the glare from the roof? Could players just have worn sunglasses? And was it affecting the fans at all i.e. sunburns or making the stadium too hot?
                            The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Chevy114 View Post
                              I like the idea for the monorail to go along with the space and future theme of the park, but the tram is much more feasible.

                              My next question is, if there was no dome for baseball yet, what plans did the astros follow. Did they try to mimic a basketball arena? If not, did the people of houston just have blind faith that this dome would work?

                              Finally how bad was the glare from the roof? Could players just have worn sunglasses? And was it affecting the fans at all i.e. sunburns or making the stadium too hot?
                              The lamella truss system had been previously used in other areas of the world for much smaller scale projects. The lamella system uses a pattern of isoceles triangle bracing instead of an equilateral pattern and would create a dome that would look like a big round bubble. They also went with this type of construction because of the possible threats of hurricanes. This type of dome would allow movement at its base (called a tension ring) where it attaches to the stadium structure. The Astrodome and Shea Stadium shared the same architectural and engineering consultants (not lead team) and Shea was used as a basic starting point for the stadium structure. The construction of the dome involved utilizing support towers at key points around the dome. The towers were lowered and removed simultaneously allowing the completed dome to fully rest on the stadium structure. The engineers correctly calculated within 1/32 of an inch in the deflection of the dome as it came to rest. There were lawsuits filed to prevent the construction because some didn't want any tax money to be involved with a project like this. The great team work and preparation amongst all the architectural and engineering firms really made this work without a hitch. There was one death during the construction. A worker fell from a beam in the dome.

                              The glare from the skylight panels (4,596 of them) were designed to diffuse direct sunlight. The dome skylights feature more than 350,000 pounds of acrylic monomer cast in a double layer of sheeting. The outside layer is .250-inch thick clear plastic. The inside pattern acrylic panel is .187-inch thick and is designed to diffuse light. The heavy duty aluminum frame units that encase the skylights at 7 feet 2 inches by 3 feet 4 inches and have a 1.5-inch air space separating the panels. These skylights were to allow natural ligth to filter in without creating shadows from the steel skeleton of the roof. They just didn't realize how bright the glare would be during the day. Sunglasses were used in preseason practices but the glare was too much. Charlie Finley even sent over some orange baseballs and the Astros were given special permission to use them but they didn't work either. The only solution was to paint the skylights. They did this early on in 1965 but had to touch it up again later that season because the glare was still a little strong. Previous to painting the skylights, there was enough sunlight filtering into the Astrodome that they actually played some day games without the stadium lights on. The painting of the skylights cut down almost half of the sunlight although you could still see the difference in sunlight inside when there was a partly cloudy day. It would get brighter and darker, almost like a greenhouse effect. This solution to the glare prompted the invention of Astroturf.

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                              • #30
                                Good thing the astrodome worked as well as it did because I feel like many other domes poped up around the country in 10 or so years following the astrodome. I like the shape of the stadium it still looks futuristic to me like how the royals stadium or the bluejays stadium looks. I am still having a hard time putting myself in a world where domes didn't exist since I was born in 1983. But it sounds like a pretty neat experience.

                                As for the glare, I just found it odd that there was such a glare and yet the grass in the dome never dried out. But I guess its a good thing because that caused the invention of astroturf which helped with other sports domes.
                                The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

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